As much a vehicle for a scenery-devouring Vincent Price as for the newfangled 3D process that would kick-start the 1950s craze, the Victorian horror shows of House of Wax had originally been brought to the screen some 20 years earlier by Casablanca director Michael Curtiz.
His 1933 film, Mystery of the Wax Museum (starring a pre-King Kong Fay Wray) had served as something of a technical experiment itself, employing as it did a short-lived advancement in the two-colour Technicolor process, spearheaded by Warner Bros.
Transposing the action from London to New York, there’s plenty of lurid fun to be had following Price’s murderous sculptor as he rebuilds his waxwork collection out of the cadavers of the recently (and not quite) deceased.
Featuring an early role for one Charles Buchinsky (later Charles Bronson) as Igor, House of Wax may be best known for its use of 3D but impresses more in its vivid use of colour.
The moment Price’s waxen mask falls apart to reveal the disfigured night stalker underneath still looks terrific 60-odd years on, and certainly superior to anything that appears in a third iteration that arrived (and promptly vanished) in 2005.
Professor Henry Jarrod
Lieutenant Tom Brennan
Sergeant Jim Shane
Charles Buchinsky (Bronson)
André de Toth